Richard Browne is celebrating his third FIA World Rallycross title as a motorsport engineer.
The Firies native works for Volkswagen Motorsport in Germany but also freelances as a race engineer for Johan Kristoffersson his KYB EKS JC team.
In the opening three rounds of the 2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship, Kristoffersson only reached the final once.
Heading into the recent Nürburgring title-decider he was 17 adrift of title favourite Timmy Hansen
But in his own, and Browne’s words, and even against almost inconceivable odds, he and his KYB EKS JC team “didn’t give up”. His reward was a fourth Drivers’ crown and a third title for the Kerry man.
“It was a hell of a weekend,” said Browne “We came to Nürburgring 17 points behind. The weather reports looked pretty bad, with cold temperatures and snow forecasted, but for us, this was a good thing. With that type of weather, anything can happen, and with Johan, he revels in these conditions. He is always strong in the mixed grip or low grip conditions, and this weekend we had plenty of that.”
Saturday was a good day for the team with Kristoffersson taking maximum points. His championship rival had a tough day, off the pace and picking up some penalties and that meant that Johan closed the gap from 17 points to just 4!
Sunday was a little different, Hansen could see the championship slipping away from him, and was trying to fight back while Johan had another good day.
“It set the scene for a final showdown because it came to just one point between them in the final. All Johan needed to do was to stay ahead of Timmy. This would mean that they would equal each other on points and on countback Johan would take it with more wins than Timmy,” added Richard.
“That was the plan and it worked perfectly. So Johan took his fourth FIA WRX title, three of which I have been a part of.
“It’s still difficult to believe to be honest because in Loheac we were 28 points behind, and here it was still 17-points difference. To climb back like that, it’s incredible. It must have made for good TV, but for us, it was nerve-wracking because we knew if it was at all possible, it would really come down to the wire, so there was a lot of pressure on the team also to not make any mistakes.”
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